Seoul Searching

Bearing in mind that the mainstream U.S. media has been untiring – and immensely successful – in its efforts to convince gullible Americans that the world is well on its way to an economic “recovery”, overseas news releases tell a different story. For example, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency tells it like it is: “South Korean Shipbuilders’ Debt Jumps In 2012”.

“SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) – Combined debt owed by South Korea’s seven largest shipyards spiked 44 percent lat year as shipbuilders sought more loans from banks and debt sales to cope with falling demand, industry data showed Thursday.

“According to the data, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Samsung Heavy Industries Co., and five other shipyards held a combined 21 trillion won (US $ 18.8 billion) in debt at the end of 2012, compared with 14.6 trillion won a year earlier. The debt includes bank loans and proceeds from sales of corporate bonds.

“Their combined debt has been on a sharp rise since 2008, reaching 12.1 trillion won in 2009 and 14.7 trillion won in 2010. The sharp rise in shipbuilders’ debt came a demand for new ships sank amid the global economic downturn.

“Hyundai Heavy Industries, the country’s leading shipbuilder, saw its debt soar 65.2 percent on-year to reach 6.54 trillion won at the end of last year. Samsung Heavy Industries’ debt also jumped to 2.96 trillion won from 1.48 trillion won over the cited period. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. saw its debt rise to 4.08 trillion won from 2.93 trillion won.

“‘If the present situation continues, their debts may increase by 2 trillion won to 3 trillion won every year,’ said Hong Seok-joon, an analyst at Korea Investors Service Co.

“Reflecting worsening financial conditions in the shipbuilding sector, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., a South Korean shipyard, on Monday sought fresh financial support from its creditors. ‘The survival of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding largely hinges on creditors’ fresh loan extensions,’ said Kim Ki-myung, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities Co. ‘Without fresh funding, the shipbuilder’s liquidity may deteriorate sharply.’

“The global shipbuilding industry is in dire straits as the worldwide financial crisis and the eurozone debt problems have sapped demand for new ships amid a global oversupply …

“Additional data regarding order backlogs underscore the sector’s troubles.” –

The U.S. mainstream media would never lay it on the line the way the overseas media does. We’re not allowed to figure out that if fewer and fewer ships are delivering goods, that must surely indicate a reduction in demand, a reduction in spending money – and a reduction in jobs. Nope. We’re being told instead that all is well. “Go back to your video games,” is the word from on high.